We have an overgrown garden that has been taken over by blackberry bushes (pictured above). I put a plan together with five different phases to tackle this project. When I started working on it, I realized that I would have to make changes. I needed somewhere to put the blackberry bushes as I could not throw all of them over the fence. It was too high. I came up with a new plan. I decided to make a pathway to our lower gate to make a way to rake the blackberry bushes out of the garden instead of throwing them over the fence.
My 6-year old, Zoe decided to help me with this plan and made a game out of it. Zoe said that if we made a pathway down to the gate that we would finish the level of this game we were playing. If we got hurt, then the game would be over and we would lose.
There were many times in the 3 hours that it took to complete this task that I told Zoe, “I need to stop” and “I am tired so I think it is time to quit,” but she kept pressing on. She said, “We are almost there mom and need to keep going.” I was ready to quit as I did not feel well and was tired. I am so glad that God does not give up this quickly on us as I am sure He considers me one of his projects.
When Zoe wants to complete a task, I would describe her to have an unbelievable amount of tenacity and endurance. She had her eye on the prize and was not going to stop until we got there. This reminded me of James 1:4 (NIV), “Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” When we got to the gate, Zoe had a celebration by running through the rest of the yard and finding another way back to our house. She was so excited and full of pure joy.
The first chapter of James begins with a description of keeping faith in God to hear and answer your prayers in the midst of your trials. We can be patient with ourselves to know that we are a work in progress. But God gives us opportunities every day to learn and grow in His wisdom. We have a choice to believe God will be there to give us guidance or be “blown and tossed by the wind” (James 1:6b). I would rather believe God’s supreme wisdom rather than go with what my human nature says to do. My human nature has misguided me so many times and led me down some tough paths that only God could bring me back to the correct one.
The pure joy that you can experience in the midst of a trial and in its completion is amazing. It is something only God can give us. Next time you are experiencing a trial, think of Zoe making a game out of cutting down these gigantic blackberry bushes and what your celebration will look like when you have finished this arduous task. It will make you a better person and help you to have patience until its completion.